Brace yourselves. In today’s blog post I am going to fall into that trap so many writers slide into, and blog something silly: a paen to my writing familiar…my cat, Mocha. 😉 Officially, he’s Mister Moccachino. That’s his registered name. But around here, we call him Mocha, or Mokey, or MokeyBear, or Fuzzball, or Furball, or You Big Furry Purry Slob. Typical, eh?
Cats make such excellent writing familiars. They lie there, purring contentedly, completely unfazed as their writers mumble bits dialogue along the lines of, “One more step, and I’ll kill you,” or “Drop that (fill in the blank as to weapon!),” or “It’s going to explode! Run!” They ignore the funny faces you make as you “act out” the various parts in your mind…and all the while your fingers are moving, typing away. Yes, guilty as charged. Sometimes I catch myself making faces while writing a scene, as well as mumbling. Thank goodness it’s only Mocha that sees me. Any human observer would conclude I’m demented, or possessed. Well, I am. When you’re “channeling” a story, completely into it, you ARE possessed. Ever experienced that?
Fortunately Mocha doesn’t care how crazy I look while writing. He lies right between my keyboard and my big monitor, purring softly if he’s awake, or zonked out asleep. It’s nice to have a bit of company during a long writing session. Human company just doesn’t work. Way too distracting. Real people TALK and ruin your conversations with your characters. Birds can be noisy, too. I love dogs, but they need to be walked, and they’re needy…they demand frequent petting. Their tails thump. Fish would be okay, I guess…they’re nice and quiet. But I think they’d be a distraction…swimming back and forth. You can’t pet them during breaks. And they definitely can’t purr.
Mocha makes no secret about wanting petting at times, certainly. He’s a very mellow, friendly cat, typical of Himalayan males. When he’s not sacked out asleep, he follows me around the house, and if he wants attention, he “Mewps!” until he gets it. Thank goodness he doesn’t have that Siamese yowl…just a cute little “mewp!” He’s even been known to compliment me on my writing. There have been times during writing sessions when he’s eyed the monitor screen just over his head and announced “Wow!” at some brilliant turn of phrase that sprang from my flying fingers. My favorite critic! 😉
But mostly, Mocha has learned that when I’m typing away, it isn’t the right time to demand attention, and he’s content to just lie there, four inches above my fingers, sometimes asleep, sometimes purring softly and blinking his blue cat-gaze at me. If I hit a “save” and take a moment to pet or scratch behind his ears, his purring escalates until you can hear it six feet away. I’ve even trained him, over the years, not to step on my keyboard as he makes his way to his post. Didn’t I tell you? A perfect familiar!
Look at those pictures. Adorable, right? I’ll put Mocha up against John Scalzi’s Himmy any day in a cat-familiar cuteness contest.
(Don’t despair, I’ll be back with a writing post this week, maybe tomorrow, and the subject will be RESEARCH when writing. I promise to be serious and useful. Hey, it’s MY blog, dammit, and today I felt like being silly. )
-Ann C. Crispin